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Week 9 Animals as Research Subjects

Week 9 Animals as Research Subjects - Issues in Animal...

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Unformatted text preview: Issues in Animal Research Deontological and Utilitarian Positions 1 Benefits of Animal Research Determine the toxicity of certain chemicals/drugs Draize test LD50 test Test the efficacy of certain drugs Gain knowledge 2 Drawbacks of animal research Inferential gap Harms animals – a setback of their interests Generates a great deal of suffering 3 The Case Against Animal Research by Tom Regan 4 Two Senses of Autonomy Kantian sense of autonomy states that individuals are autonomous only if they are capable of acting on reasons they can will as universal laws. Preference autonomy states that individuals are autonomous if they have preferences and have the ability to initiate action with a view to satisfying them. 5 Two Senses of Autonomy The Kantian sense of autonomy is a prerequisite to moral agency. Preference autonomy is a prerequisite to being a moral patient, which is part of the moral community. Moral agent v. moral patient 6 Regan cont. Since animals, like humans, have inherent value, these individuals have a basic moral right to respectful treatment. All moral agents and patients must be treated in ways that are consistent with the recognition of their equal possession of value of this kind. Since rights entail obligations, moral agents have the obligation not to use moral patients as mere instruments. 7 Toxicology The toxicity argument supports the idea that we need to test the toxicity of each new drug on animals. If we don’t use animals for testing drugs, humans will run a greater risk of being made worse-off by taking new drugs. 8 Regan’s Counterpoint Risks are not morally transferable to those who do not voluntarily choose to take them. 9 What about the risks of not testing? Regan’s view does not oppose all testing of drugs. People who want to use an untested drug could themselves choose not to run the risks associated with taking it by deciding not to take it. Develop alternatives 10 What about the interests of drug companies? Financial losses don’t outweigh protecting rights. Evidence exists that animal testing is more expensive than some of the alternatives. Arguing that the regulatory agencies require it misses the moral point. Appeals to what the law requires have no moral weight if we have good reason to believe that the laws in question are unjust. 11 Objections to Regan’s Position Regan assumes that the mere possession of preferences is sufficient to guarantee full moral value. This means that: The principle of respect for autonomy is an all or nothing affair The possession of any autonomy at all is sufficient to make that principle fully operative The right not to be harmed depends upon no other consideration than the principle of respect for autonomy 12 Objections cont. Rights are not absolute. Can we claim that we can violate an animal’s right if we have a good reason? 13 Utilitarianism v. the Rights View Regan claims that to treat animals as if their value were reducible to their utility for human interests, even important human interests, is to treat them unjustly. Ridley suggests that we perhaps defend animal research by taking an utilitarian approach, but is this claim accurate? 14 Peter Singer Singer uses the utilitarian approach to argue for the equal consideration of the interests of animals. He is a preference utilitarian. 15 Equality There are differences between humans and non-human animals. These differences will entail differences in treatment. Yet, equality is a moral ideal or a prescriptive claim rather that a descriptive claim. 16 Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests Differences, nonetheless, should not prevent us from extending the principle of equal consideration to other animals. There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to satisfying their needs and interests. 17 Sufficient Condition for Having Interests Bentham points to the capacity for suffering as the vital characteristic that gives a being the right to equal consideration. Other animals have sentience – the capacity to feel and perceive which includes the ability to suffer and to experience happiness. Sentience is a prerequisite for having interests at all. “If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration.” 18 No other boundary Singer claims that sentience is the only defensible boundary. What other boundary could there be? Intelligence Rationality Language Homo Sapiens 19 Speciesism If we draw the line arbitrarily, then we are being speciesists. Speciesism is when we allow the interests of our own species to override the greater interests of other species. Examples of speciesist practices: Eating animals for a matter of taste Needlessly experimenting on animals Ignoring the interests of other animals by failing to challenge prevailing ideas 20 Singer’s Main Thesis If any creature is capable of suffering, then we should take its suffering into consideration when we calculate utility. 21 Discussion Questions Are other animals part of the moral community? Do they have moral status? If so, what is their moral status? What does it mean to harm them? Is it morally permissible to use them for research purposes? Is it morally permissible to eat them and wear them based solely on our tastes? 22 Cows and their preferences…. 23 References Ridley, Aaron. Ridley, Aaron. Beginning Bioethics: A text with integrated readings. Bedford/St. Martin’s: Boston, 1998. Singer, Peter. “A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation.” In Environmental Ethics, 3rd ed., edited by L. Pojman. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2001. 24 ...
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